ALRANZ did a bit of research and put  out a wee fact sheet on the different forms of contraception and their availability/cost along with our media release when the 2012 abortion stats were released in June. We thought it worth highlighting on its own in a separate post. Be great to see those who oppose  abortion rights campaigning for more affordable and accessible contraception of the individual’s choosing. Meanwhile, you’ve got until the end of August to tell Pharmac it should make fertility control (such as prevention of unplanned pregnancy) a key criterion, and it could make a start by fully funding Mirena (see below).


IUDs. (Source: An Atlas of Contraception by Pramilla Senanayake and Malcolm Potts)

IUDs. (Source: An Atlas of Contraception by Pramilla Senanayake and Malcolm Potts)

Contraception should be freely available to all who want it, but it can be expensive and inaccessible. Here’s a brief summary of contraception cost and availability in New Zealand. (This information is not a substitute for advice from a medical professional and may vary by DHB, pharmacy and area. Note that Family Planning visits are free for those under 22, and are $5 for those with a Community Services Card, and most DHBs also provide free youth services.)

Oral Contraceptive Pill

There are a variety of oral contraceptive pills available. One pill must be taken each day. Cost: Some are funded; some are not. A six-monthly doctor or clinic visit plus standard prescription charge are required for those that are funded; unfunded oral contraception can cost more than $100 for a six-month supply.

Nuva Ring: A plastic hormone-bearing ring that must be inserted into the vagina once a month. Cost: Approximately $75 for 3-month supply, plus doctor visits for prescriptions.

Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs)


• Jadelle: This involves inserting two small, soft, plastic rods containing the hormone progestogen under the skin of the upper arm. It lasts 5 years and can be removed at any time. Cost: Free since 2010, but this doesn’t include the cost of a visit to doctor or clinic for a prescription and then for insertion and removal.

• Implanon: This is a single rod implant that lasts for 3 years. Cost: This is not subsidised and costs around $270, plus visits to doctor or clinic.


Intra uterine devices (or intra-uterine systems) are small devices that fit inside the womb; they can be removed if a person wants to become pregnant. There are several types available in New Zealand, with variable funding.

Mirena: This IUD contains a slow-release hormone and lasts for around 5 years. Cost: This is funded for menstrual bleeding problems, not for contraceptive use, for which it costs around $320, plus the visit to a doctor or clinic. (Some DHBs do offer subsidies.)

• Copper IUDs: Multiload Cu375 standard and short size, CuT380A are available. They are effective for at least 5 years, and the contraceptive effect is reversed on removal. Cost: Funding varies, with Multiload fully funded. All require a visit to the doctor or a clinic for insertion and removal, though some nurses are trained to insert IUDs.


• Depo Provera: This is a three-monthly hormonal injection. A return to fertility can be delayed, but will occur. Cost: Depo Provera has been available in New Zealand since 1968, and is free, not counting the three-monthly doctor or clinic visit.


• Emergency Contraception: This involves taking one pill, Postinor (also known as Levonelle); or two pills, Next Choice,  and can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent conception. (It does not cause an abortion.) Cost: A doctor visit plus standard prescription charge. It is also available over the counter without a prescription, but cost at the pharmacy ranges from $40 to $80; it is not stocked on the pharmacy shelves and only a specially trained pharmacist can dispense this. Some DHBs have provided funding.

Barrier Methods

• Male Condoms: These are widely available and have the added advantage of protecting against sexually transmitted infections. Cost: Varies, but around $20 for a pack of 12 from a retail outlet; condoms can also be prescribed by a doctor.

• Female Condoms: Femidom or the female condom may be available through Family Planning, but can also be bought on the Internet at 3 for around $12.

Diaphragm: A soft rubber or silicone dome that must be placed in the vagina before intercourse, and used with a spermicide. Cost: Funded with a prescription fee. Must be fitted by a trained nurse or doctor. Spermicide is no longer stocked by NZ pharmacies, although it can be bought on the Internet.

More information about contraception and sexual health is here:

Family Planning

Ministry of Health

District Health Board websites